In a letter to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple community, Steve Jobs announced late last night that he will be stepping down from his role as CEO. He will become Chairman of the Board and stay on in an active role with the company but not run the company day to day.
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
To start, the only things we know about this news is that 1) Apple’s stock was down 6% on the news, 2) Apple COO Tim Cook has now been appointed the CEO, a move which Jobs endorsed.
Both moves at Apple aren’t entirely surprising, given that in 2004, Jobs contracted Pancreatic Cancer, which he beat. Then Jobs underwent a liver transplant in 2009, and also made a full recovery. During Jobs’ absence in 2009, then COO Tim Cook took over Apple’s day-to-day activities. Cook has been groomed to be the next CEO ever since.
Remember, Cook has essentially been the acting CEO since Jobs went on his third medical leave back in January. That’s eight months. As John Gruber at Daring Fireball reminds everyone:
Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.
Today’s announcement is just one more step, albeit a big and sad one, in a long-planned orderly transition — a transition that no one wanted but which could not, alas, be avoided. And as ever, he’s doing it his way.
One man does not make a company. But it’s hard to separate the current iteration of Apple with Jobs. When he came back in 1998, Apple was a struggling, practically dead company. Now, just 13 years later, that same company is arguably the most important and popular tech company on the planet.
There is no Mp3 market, just one for the iPod. There is no tablet market, just an iPad market. The iPhone really did change the way that consumers and companies thought about mobile phones. The company’s imprint can be seen in the way that every other computer company emulates their design standards (which come from Jonathan Ive, btw, and not Jobs).
More than anything, it’s impossible to imagine another CEO at another company producing the same sort of “Nooooooooo” response to resigning. People invested in Apple and Steve Jobs in a way that few companies or CEOs could rival.
That’s saying something.